SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) — South Korean retail investors have bet big on global tech giant Samsung Electronics this year, but their investments have failed to pay off due to a recent pullback in its share price, data showed Monday.

Local individual investors have purchased a net 13.4 trillion won (US$11.9 billion) worth of shares of the world’s leading smartphone and memory chip maker this year, according to the data from the Korea Exchange.

The amount accounted for far more than half of retail investors 23.6 trillion won net buying of shares listed on the country’s main stock market.

Samsung Electronics, the flagship of South Korea’s top family-controlled conglomerate Samsung Group, has thus become the most-bought issue by local retail investors this year.

Individual investors remained net buyers of Samsung Electronics throughout January, with the company being their most-bought stock for the fifth consecutive week.

Despite their big investments, retail investors have posted a negative return due to a recent downturn in Samsung Electronics’ price.

Individual investors’ return on Samsung Electronics stood at minus 3.5 percent as of Friday, with their average purchase price of 86,500 won above Friday’s close of 83,500 won.

Yet some local securities companies are moving to raise their target prices on Samsung Electronics on positive outlooks for the semiconductor industry, in a bit of good news for retail investors.

Industry watchers said prices of DRAM chips could rise far higher than expected down the road thanks to rising demand from coronavirus-induced working from home and other positive factors.